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Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 ARF
Setup and maiden flights
Text, photos and video by Tom Hintz
Flight video by Gihad Jawhar
Posted – 5-4-2015
All that remains to prepare the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 ARF for its maiden flight is to set up the controls and apply the “carbon” graphics package available from Aeroworks. Setup is a no-brainer because Aeroworks provides specific surface movement specs in the manual plus they include tools to make setup fast and very accurate. You get a card stock rudder deflection gauge that is secured between the top of the rudder and vertical stabilizer. You also get a nifty, clip-on deflection gauge for setting the elevators and ailerons. Both are low-tech but high accuracy setup tools that you will want to save for future use on this and other planes.
I have already set up the throttle earlier when I ran the motor with the cowl off. Now I need to dial in the ailerons, elevators and rudder. I used HiTec HS-7954SH (400 in oz. on 7.4V) digital programmable servos on all of these surfaces and that gives me an advantage.
By plugging each servo into my Hitec HFP-25 Digital Servo Programmer & Tester I can set servo direction, center point and maximum travel in both directions. I also set a “failsafe” point where the servo will position itself if it loses signal. I always set the failsafe point so the surface returns to zero. You can use the programmer to dial in the control specs from Aeroworks or if you are like me, I set everything as close to a “all-I-can-get” with a couple dual rate levels below that.
I used the rudder deflection gauge to set my maximum rudder deflection to 40-degrees left and right. I will use dual rates in the radio to reduce this deflection to my normal 70% and 50%. I use a Spektrum DX8 transmitter which gives me three dual rate levels and allows putting dual rate control for the rudder, elevator and ailerons all on one switch. I use the rudder dual rate switch as it feels the most comfortable to me while flying.
The elevator halves and ailerons were all set to a maximum travel of 45-degrees up and down. These surfaces also get dual rates of 70 and 50% in addition to the 100% setting where I normally fly my planes.
Once all of the servos have been programmed I go into the transmitters menu and set the overall travel so that I get the full deflection programmed into the servo. For some reason 100% of travel in the radio is less than what the servo is capable of so I need to jack this number up in the radio. Rather than adjust each travel direction individually I use the “global” adjustment where both directions respond equally to my input. This seems to keep both elevator halves deflecting at the same rate.
Finally I use the included setup gauges to check all movements and dual rate settings once more to be sure I am actually getting the full deflection on all surfaces. During this process I also check the linkages to be sure everything is tight and is ready for flight. Over the years I have seen planes lost unnecessarily because a servo arm fell off or a linkage unscrewed itself. These kinds of issues should be found in the shop but I promise you that dozens of planes will be lost each flying season to this kind of preventable failure.
“Carbon” Graphics Set
The advent of computer-cut vinyl let us put more professional looking graphics on our planes. Now Aeroworks offers this graphics package designed specifically for the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 ARF. Setting this package apart is that they are made using a high-quality printing process that means we get true gradients rather than solid color cut out letters and graphics. That process makes the dramatic “tearing” effect possible that appears to reveal carbon fiber fabric below the planes skin.
This graphics package is available from Aeroworks for $129.95 (4-30-2015) and to me is worth every penny. If you like having your planes look as good as they fly your Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 ARF just won’t be complete without them.
The time I invested in getting the control surfaces aligned right paid off when my Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 ARF first went airborne. A couple clicks of down, two clicks right aileron and it was flying straight and level. Roll it inverted on a 45-degree up line and it shows just a hint of nosing down though on landing it seems to want to hang the tail down a little. All this was happening in 15-20 mph gusts so no adjustments will be made until we get a calmer day to isolate what the plane is doing as opposed to how it reacts to gusty winds.
The Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 ARF does nice flat spins upright or inverted plus is easy to get into a knife edge spin, and out of it. Recovery from all of the positions I got it in was quick and predictable. With the nose into the bumpy winds we had the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 ARF was surprisingly stable in an Elevator and responded to a little rudder to put the Elevator where you want. Inverted flight is stable and the elevator remains effective with only a small amount of down elevator needed to maintain level flight.
Landing in the winds we had the first day were best with a couple clicks of down trim to help keep the nose down. The Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 ARF feels like it wants to keep floating and needs surprisingly little head wind to actually gain some altitude when you want it to lose some. You just have to realize how well the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 ARF uses air over its wings even at landing speeds.
I was able to fly the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 ARF another day with less wind though we did have occasional gusts and confirmed the performance. The Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 ARF is super stable in normal flight but more important to me, recovers from maneuvers quickly, even the ones I mess up.
Lacking side force generators is not a factor with the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 ARF as I am able to do steady Elevators and knife edge flight is difficult for me only because I keep adding too much rudder. The Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 ARF likes knife edge flight and when supported by a bit of rudder will do figure 8’s all day long.
The Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 ARF is a terrific airplane with far reaching aerobatic capabilities and a remarkable stability throughout a surprisingly large flight envelope. Modern laser-cut parts, jig assembly, low weight and advanced design capabilities combine to make the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 ARF a great flying plane that lacks the bad habits RC modelers were forced to live with not so long ago. Factor in the extensive factory assembly and what may well be the best hardware package in the industry and the $749.95 (4-29-2015) price tag sounds better all of the time. Compare that price to other ARF’s on the market that don’t come close to matching this level of quality and performance and the Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 ARF looks more and more like one of the better deals available.
One of the things that got me to buy an Aeroworks plane the first time was the consistency with which current Aeroworks-equipped pilots praised these planes. I also liked how their praise often focused equally on building the kit and flying the finished plane. Flying RC planes is in fact a form of therapy for me but as with all of you, it is also a ton of fun. The Aeroworks 50cc Edge 540 ARF flies easy and true, both of which let you have a ton of fun while improving your flying skills with a plane that isn’t working against you.
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